"Far from being repressed, woman in Rossetti's poems are defiant" How far do you agree with this view?
I agree with this view to a certain extent, as there are elements of both repression and defiance within many of Rossetti's poems.
Firstly, in the poem Maude Clare rather than women it seems to be the man that is repressed to some extent as Maude Clare and Nell are both defiant as they both seem to have strong opinions that are voiced clearly whereas Thomas remains in silence and is not successful in declining his mother's wishes. Maude Clare shows defiance towards the wedding of Thomas and Nell in the ninth stanza where she presumably says 'I wash my hands thereof' in a tone of anger. However, I think this could also be Maude Clare pretending she is okay and that it does not bother her so much anymore so that she does not look like the fool that she was.
Secondly, the speaker of Cousin Kate is very bold in language. Although she acknowledges what her reputation is which is not so positive she is firm and does not accept that it is the truth. The speaker in fact says that Cousin Kate is the one that has been fooled in stanza five, ' If he had fooled not me but you'. This however also suggests repression of Cousin Kate as she is described as a wretched fool and that she is not as innocent and pure as society claims she is. This could be in referral to Christina Rossetti's own life as she was engaged twice but they broke off suggesting that there may of possibly been something negative about Rossetti and that they were attracted by other fair maidens.
Thirdly, the speaker in Sister Maude shows great defiance...